Drawing Lessons

Dudley Ellington had trouble in school” begins this realistic narrative.  At first glance, my mind began placing different current males students in this character role – someone who doodles and fidgets in his eat when he has trouble learning.  Know of anyone like that?  I’m sure you do.  We can all relate to a Dudley.

In Ms. McCaw Learns to Draw, Kaethe Zemach shares a story that any teacher appreciates.  (In some ways, the teacher reminds me of Mr. Falker in Patricia Polacco’s book,  Thank You, Mr. Falker.)  Ms. McCaw is a patient teacher.  She cares and wants to see him achieve.  She helps Dudley, modeling and coaching, sitting expectantly beside him until he learns.  The students love Ms. McCaw and believe that she can do anything.  Why, she is a teacher, you know.  She teaches them all subject areas, bringing the unfamiliar to life in her class  (just like yours).

One day she struggles with drawing a person on the chalkboard.  Her frustration is so great, she becomes defeated and finally gives up.  You can almost hear the sigh of “what-do-we-do-now?”  coming from the children.  Dudley rises to the occasion and becomes the hero!

I think this book allows for the class to discuss how everyone has areas of struggles and need.  We can help each other out.  Dudley shares his talent and “trades” roles with his teacher.  This book can be a springboard in helping build community.  (It even makes reference to making fun of someone.)

Enjoy learning to draw faces from a side profile position.  I found this book to be perfect for the kindergarten class I am working with.  I have been reading this great resource book, Talking, Drawing, and Writing by Martha Horn and Mary Ellen Giacobbe The philosophy behind the book is to teach children to draw with deals the oral stories they share.  The more detailed the picture, the better the story, thus lifting the level of writing.  Therefore, when I read the book, Kaethe Zemach has “Dudley” share specific moves to make the face.  You should try it!  Have fun.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Ms. McCaw Learns to Draw:

  • One day story – highlighting an important event
  • Ellipse – used with transition to the next page, a suspense holder
  • Community – everyone has a talent; we can learn to help each other
  • Drawing –
  • Feelings – as the reader, you become involved with the characters’ emotions
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